Step 1: Be Informed
As with any other significant purchase, it is essential to be informed about the basic details. If you do your homework well, it is possible to eliminate foreseeable risks. But first, you need to find a property and this is commonly done through a real estate agent, who will charge 3-4% of the purchase price (including VAT) as a commission. This commission is usually split equally between the buyer and the seller. Before you agree, it is always a good idea to compare prices either through an appraisal company or doing online (and offline) research by learning the prices of property in a certain neighborhood. When you have found a property, it is time for some deeper investigation. Turkey’s land registry system is a secure and reliable source of information open to public. All the information about the legal status of a property including ownership rights, rights registered to third parties, and encumbrances can be accessed via the computerized TAKBIS system. A simple site survey will provide plenty of essential information and help you answer the following questions:
- Is the seller the legal owner of the property?
- Are there are any outstanding liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances?
- Are the cadastral records in accordance with zoning plans?
- Do the cadastral borders match the borders in the zoning plans?
- What types of activity (commercial, residential, etc.), as indicated in the zoning plans, can the property be used for?
- Does it hold a valid construction license and building utilization permit?
- What is the physical status of the property like?
- Will there be others living in the same property? This is relevant in the case of condominiums, flats or apartments. Note that for condominiums, there is a management plan that binds all owners under the Condominium Ownership Law.
- Is there a tenant in the property and have you looked at the lease contract?
Step 2: Contract Phase
After you have verified all the basic information and agreed to go ahead with the purchase, the next step is the contract phase. You will be signing a Purchase/Sale Contract or Promise to Sell Contract. According to Turkish law, the sale of a property can only be completed at the land registry with the attendance of both the seller and purchaser. To transfer ownership, you need a standard transfer deed, prepared by the land registry. Prior to the sale of property, you may also sign a preliminary Promise to Sell Contract, which should be signed before a notary public and registered with the land registry for protection against third party claims. As the new owner, you’ll be responsible for any unpaid, overdue real estate tax. You can choose to put a clause in your contract in order to prevent any future risks associated with this. It is also important to have both English and Turkish versions of the contract notarized. You may also go with the highly recommendable option of granting power of attorney to a solicitor, who can conclude the deal for you.
Step 3: Final Checks
After signing the contract, it can take up to 4 weeks to complete the deal. It is advisable to make all necessary checks, including title check, municipality check, and military clearances to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Step 4: Title Deed
When all paperwork is complete and you have both fulfilled your contractual obligations, your home will be registered to your name and your Title Deed will be issued.
As mentioned above, going through a full-service, experienced agency is highly recommended, in order to minimize all the risks and make sure things go smoothly until the very end.